Leave no beloved pet behind
When Portlander Elaine was looking for active assisted living, she was adamant that her poodle-mix, Nettie, was coming with her.
“I got Nettie when she was 10, and I’ve had her five years, so she’s 50,” said Elaine, of her apricot-colored fluffy friend.
Nettie often attends singing activities, politely resting under Elaine’s chair, blinking sweetly at other residents and is unperturbed by the piano. She also likes bridge and Rummikub, lectures, and long walks.
“She’s the only daughter I have,” said Elaine. “She is good company and brings love to everyone at our Home.”
According to a recent study sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons, more than half of older adults (55%) reported having a pet. Pet owners said their pets help them enjoy life (88%), feel loved (86%), reduce stress (79%), provide a sense of purpose (73%), and help them stick to a routine (62%).
Respondents also reported that pets connect them with others, help them stay physically active, and help them cope with physical and emotional symptoms, including taking their mind off pain.
When looking for senior living, there is no reason to leave Fido and Scratch behind, as many communities welcome animals.
“Elders should be assured that the right community for them will welcome their pet,” said Rose Schnitzer Manor Assisted Living Administrator Rachael White. “For example, we have 27 acres upon which residents can walk their pet, and we also allow pets in residents’ rooms. We even allow pet visitations if a resident is caring for someone’s pet.”
White added that the pets become part of the community and are not only a comfort to residents, but also to the staff. “Our team loves to hear the cats purr and to pet the dogs. It’s truly like being in the comfort of home.”
Resident Marie brought her seven-year-old adopted shelter cats, Cricket and Panda, to Rose Schnitzer Manor when she moved in, and said having pets was definitely a factor in her decision in her selection.
“It was definitely a benefit,” said Marie, with a laugh. I’m not sure which was more important: having the cats or having intelligent people!”
By Sydney Clevenger, with research from Arlene Layton. For questions, contact Sydney at Cedar Sinai Park: Active assisted living focusing on Jewish values. Welcoming of all Faiths. www.cedarsinaipark.org, (503) 535-4000